Wedded Bliss??

I am going to get a little personal and a lot philosophical with this post . It is about the state of marriage and my personal experiences with it. First of all I was forty years old when I got married for the first and only time. During those years, I thought I was destined to be a “single” guy all my life. My Aspie traits were just not conducive to the dating scene, so about this time I was pretty much done with dating. Too many first or second dates only. There was just too much frustration involved in the whole process.

I was a on-again/off-again Catholic during those years, who remembered the words of St. Paul about marriage. He basically said “get married if you must, but it is better to remain single.” It had something about a wife taking time away from praising the Lord. I took those words on faith and convinced myself I was better off without a spouse.

I also read the statistics that almost a third of marriages are broken within five years. My two brothers had already been married twice, so I joked that my family had used up all the allowed marriages.

But as often happens, just when I resolved to never marry it hit me in the face. My future wife asked me out on a date to a 1985 company Christmas party and we were married the following April. That four month stretch was very surreal. It was as if someone else was occupying my body.

Skipping forward thirty-three years, I ask myself if I would do the same thing?

But before I give you my answer to that I want to tell you that my Aspie traits demand that I be brutally honest and that fact seem to be taking charge of me in these senior years. Brutal honesty has gotten me in trouble more times than I can remember. So, my honest answer to the above question is:

I don’t know

One of the difficulties with marriage that last for a long term is that the two people often grow apart in significantly ways. In some ways that makes marriage feel like a stifling thing, especially in our retirement years.

  • One person loves to travel and the other hates it.
  • One person loves philosophical discussions and the other thinks all that is baloney.
  • One person loves change and the other embraces stasis.
  • Even many of the once common interests gradually disappear.

How do you maintain a joyful life given those differences? Yes, we had a lot of pleasant shared experiences, but does that tilt the scale?

But then I also look back and wonder if I would have survived this long without someone to help me cope with the difficulties in life. If I had gone deaf alone would I have fallen deeply into depression and maybe suffered the consequences of that dreadful condition. I think the reasons for this post is because of a recent suicide of a nephew in his early forties. He seemed to constantly be trying to find himself and just couldn’t accomplish that. Would that have been me thirty years ago? I really don’t know.

Of course there have been many good times in these thirty-three years. Sometimes it is too easy to forget that when difficulties or differences arise. I know that the divorce rate among seniors is the highest of most any other age group. I kinda think it is mainly because of the two people growing apart.

Seeking a Joyous Journey – When Panic Set In

I’m going to start this post out with all you newbie retirees or soon to be retirees in mind but then finish it ups with some insights I have found for all us old-timers as well. I aim to cover the whole spectrum during my “seeking a joyous journey” project. 🙂

I don’t claim to be an expert with all this stuff, but I have read a few dozen books on the topic and see that my circumstances are not a lot different from many others. But then again, I have found that like most every other thing in life, one size does not fit all.

I know when I retired, near panic immediately set in when I fully realized that I was totally unprepared for what was ahead of me. The days before I was downsized I was working 50+ hours a week and along with the travel time to and from work that stretched out to about 60 hours dedicated to my job. Quickly I realized that I had no idea on what I was going to do with those emancipated hours. I can only sit on the deck and drink beer for so for so many hours a day. 🙂

In my job I lead a small team of IT developers in building tools (they are called apps today) for 100+ engineers. It was a lot of responsibility. I then realized that now that I am “retired” about the only person I would see each day was my wife, and she doesn’t seem to think I know much of anything, so panic started to creep in almost immediately in that respect also.

I was a lifelong planner with NO plans. That thought almost took my breath away.

For the first time in longer than I can remember, I was free to do pretty much anything I wanted. I’ll leave the details of that period for another post, but suffice it to say I managed to trog myself through. It was not elegant but at least it ended well.


Now to move on to recent panics. I left the corporate world in the Spring of 2000. so it has been closing on 20 years now since those initial panic days. Of course, there have been others along the way but now it seems another panic stage is upon me.

I am getting to that stage where I am forgetting more and more of the simple details of life. I seem to frequently leave restaurants and leave my coat on the back of the chair. That just happened again two days ago while I was on my twenty-fourth micro-RV adventure in Toledo Ohio. It was not until I got outside in the drizzle that I remembered. Things like this just seem to be happening more frequently now.

Due to my deafness I have always had a balance problem but that too is getting magnified. These types of things tell me that I am entering another potential melt-down faze that needs to be addressed. How will I cope with the loss of freedom and mobility that this stage will entail? That is the topic at hand for me right now. The first thing I need to do is to again, just breathe and work it out. Keep a positive attitude and accept the coming challenges.

How about you? How are you coping with the changes that come with old-age?